Categories of Special Interest
1860 - 1870
Freestanding single-bay single-storey former railway water tower associated with Buncrana Railway Station (see 40815015), built c. 1864. Formerly surmounted by water tank, now removed. Now disused. flat-roof hidden by low parapet, with cast-iron guttering on red brick cornice. Rock-faced squared and snecked rubble stone walls with flush red brick block-and-start quoins to the corners. Round-headed window opening with red brick block-and-start surrounds, stone sills, and metal windows (now blocked). Square-headed door opening with red brick block-and-start surround and replacement timber door. Set in former goods yard to west of former railway station (40815015), and to the south-west of the centre of Buncrana.
This former water tower, associated with the former Buncrana Railway Station (see 40815015), retains its early form and character despite being out of use for a considerable period of time and the removal of the water tank. It represents an interesting historical reminder of the great age of stream railways from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, and it would have been used to replenish the water tanks of stream engines. The good quality rock-faced masonry used in its construction is a typical feature of Victorian railway engineering and architecture in Ireland, and helps give this building a robust presence for such a small-scale and unassuming building. The red brick dressings complement that to the main original station, and illustrates the attention to detail afforded even the most functional structures at the time. The associated railway station was originally built as the terminus of the Derry to Buncrana section of the Londonderry to Lough Swilly Railway line, which opened on the 8th of September 1864, and closed to passengers in 1948 and closed completely in 1953. It was originally built by the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company, who also built the later extension of the line to Carndonagh, which opened in 1901. This line to Buncrana was originally a standard 5ft 3-inch gauge but was regauged to the 3ft narrow gauge in March 1885; the later line was also of this narrow gauge. It forms a pair of related structures with the associated with the railway station, and a wider group associated with this former narrow gauge railway line in Inishowen. This former railway water tower is an integral element of the built heritage and transport history of the Buncrana area.